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Magic mushrooms could combat depression, study finds

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There’s a new possible treatment for depression many scientists never considered... Magic mushrooms.

A study published in Lancet Psychiatry shows that “magic mushrooms” may be more useful than they’ve been given credit for. In a pilot study of 12 patients, all experienced reduced symptoms of depression whilst on the drug.

The study used patients with treatment-resistant depression. All patients demonstrated a decrease in depressive symptoms for at least three weeks on the psilocybin treatment, and after three months seven showed continually decreasing symptoms, while five found their symptoms did not change. None demonstrated worsening symptoms of depression.

The participants had been struggling with depression for an average of 18 years.

However, ’shrooms aren’t an easy first-choice treatment quite yet; all patients required background checks and psychological support to offset the “trip” the drug gave them. The psilocybin was given to the patients in highly controlled capsule form – the equivalent to eating several of the mushrooms.

This kind of follow-up and monitoring of magic mushrooms is  unprecedented; they are a Class A illegal drug in the UK, which makes them a difficult drug to study and made this particular pilot difficult to launch – let along complete.

Critics of the study note that the experiment was not blind – the participants were aware of the drug they ingested and thus opens up the possibility of a “placebo effect.”

Either way, experts have called the results “promising.”

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